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  2. Akdal MKA 1919 Match 3 Gun Build

    Review and install of the Tooth and Nail forend.
  3. A better look at the engraved logo from the above mentioned article.
  4. If you own an Akdal MKA 1919, you know from the factory you have limited accessory mounting options. Personally I am not a huge fan of rails on shotguns, but I do love the ability to weak side charge. Anyone looking to modify these shotguns has undoubtedly stumbled across Tooth And Nail Armory (T&N). This is who made the piece we will be reviewing today. For the reasons stated above, we opted for the "Level 10 Rail" which has the side charge handle installed. A quick visit to their site and eight days later we had the part in hand. When ordering there are a ton of options for configuration. Because we were not looking to add any additional accessories at this time, we ordered the basic 12" forend. In the box, you will find the forend, adapter plate, o-ring, and very basic instructions. When we say "basic" we mean it. Thankfully this install takes less than five minutes and is not rocket-science. Click Image To Enlarge Installation should take less than five minutes with common tools. Start by removing the 4mm allen bolts on the front sight. To avoid marring the finish, splay the mounting tabs of the sight apart gently as you lift off the sight. There are flats machined into the barrel so avoid twisting as you lift it off. Now, remove the forend nut highlighted below in yellow. As you move the the forward band off, the clam-shell hand-guards will fall off. Set those aside, and lift off the hand-guard base plate, what would be the delta ring on a M4. Click Image To Enlarge With the stock parts removed, slide the T&N base plate over the barrel with the narrower portion facing away from the receiver. With a little bit of pressure it will press into place and become flush with the upper receiver. If you cannot get it all the way flush, do not worry. When you tighten the forend on, it will press into place. Now lower the new forend over the barrel and guide rod assuring that the flange on the base plate slides into the forend. Before reinstalling the secure nut, make sure to slide the provided o-ring over it. Tighten the secure nut until the forend no longer has excess movement in it. Worth noting is there will always be a small amount of play in the forarm if you apply enough force. If you are anal, like we are, you can install a sling mount between the upper and the rail. That will fix the problem. Click Image To Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge The build quality of the forend is extremely robust. It achieves a nice balance between being so light it feels weak, and having so much mass it feels unrefined. Tolerances across the entire forend were very good. The finish is what I would consider average at best. With a retail over $200.00 there is room for improvement here. If you look at the photo above you can see where the charge handle had what looks like smut on it prior to finishing. The logo which is supposed to be engraved, was also not touched off properly prior to engraving. Instead of an angry dog, it ended up looking more like an acid spill after anodizing. That said, we will probably duracoat the rail once we are happy with everything on the weapon. So with that out of the way, lets take a look at the fit and install. Click Image To Enlarge There are a few comments on the internet about excess gap between the receiver and rail. This was an issue on the earlier XN guns, and appears to be fixed on the Match Gen II weapons. In the photo above you can see there is no gap. The forend does not however match the taper of the upper. While this would add some machining cost, it would be a nice touch on the next generation of rails. The same goes for at the bottom where the receiver is radiused. Matching the two parts would be an excellent touch. Click Image To Enlarge The open design of the forend will allow everything to run cooler, however it does expose the gas system to more debris. For 3-Gun this is not an issue, however is not ideal if you plan to service the weapon. That said, the side charge makes a huge difference charging the weapon or clearing it. As far as speed on reloads, I do not think it makes a difference one way or another. Overall the T&N rail is slightly narrower and slightly taller than the OEM grip. Depending on your stance and size of your hands, this can be a pro or a con. With this rail, removal of the A2 front sight is required for general cleaning. If you like having back up iron sights, this can be a problem. It is however a problem easy enough to fix with a rail mounted A2 sight. The weapon is more than long enough to still give you a long enough sight radius especially for a shotgun. So in summations is this a worthwhile upgrade? Absolutely! The feel of the weapons and over all function is improved greatly. So if you are on the fence, stop waiting. Take the plunge and give this rail a shot. Did we get something wrong? It does happen. Let us know is the Side Charge Rail Discussion Topic.
  5. Earlier
  6. If you participate in or follow 3 gun, you have undoubtedly seen the Akdal MKA 1919 by now. With 3 gun unlimited (previously open) being dominated by Saigas and Vepr 12s, it is always interesting to see something new. With the MKA 1919 out for over a decade a lot of people are wondering why this shotgun is not more prolific. The answer is not surprisingly, reliability. While all semi-auto shotguns tend to have their quirks, the MKA 1919 had more than its share. The first generations were plagued with both reliability and durability issues. The GEN2 has addressed all these issues. Sadly, the US will still not get the MKA 1919 Match Pro which features an all alloy receiver due to sporting/importation limitations. Head up though, there is a large aftermarket following for this weapon. So lets take a look at this platform and the features that may finally make the MKA 1919 a Saiga killer. Click Image For Larger View On the business end there are also some updates. While still using internal choke tubes, they are no longer Winchoke pattern tubes. Winchoke tubes are 0.816" x 32. The new MKA tubes are 21mm x 32 (0.824" x 32). Because the thread pitch is the same, Winchoke tubes will screw in and even seem tight. After a few rounds that eighth thousands of an inch catches up to you, and they will loosen. So sad news on that front. Turning to the gas system and bolt, there were some much needed improvements. The gas regulator nut is still a standard right thread, but the jam/lock nut is now a left thread. So far this seems to have fixed the loosening that some earlier owners had. The feed ramps and are not metal and pretty much the entire bolt and carrier have been upgraded. With only 200 rounds through the weapon so far, it is still too early to say how all these improvements will play out. The initial results look promising though. Click Image For Larger View The one aspect that still needs improvement in our opinion are the sights. The sights are m4 style with a peep or blade option on the rear. It is hard to show in a photo, but rapid target acquisition with this set up is out of the question. While I am not generally a fan of red-dot or reflex sights on a shotgun, this platform really benefits from one. So with a street price of around $450 USD is this the holy grail of 3gun ready scatterguns? The answer is both yes, and no. The MKA 1919 is a great platform, but far from competition ready. There are aftermarket parts out there to really make this weapon shine. Parts such off-side charge handles, billet lowers, better stocks and so on. So if you are buying this for 3 gun, expect to invest another thousand dollars or so. Even at $1450 you will be competitive for much less than a prepped Vepr or Saiga 12. The UTAS XTR is a strong option also, but for those of us who prefer a side charge I give the MKA the edge. As always if we got something wrong, tell us. MKA 1919 Match Discussion Thread. Click Image For Larger View Click Image For Larger View On the strong side of the weapon, the first thing you will notice is the now standard ambidextrous safety and over sized magazine release. The logo has also been slightly changed from the previous MKA 1919 XN model. In addition, the charge handle has been updated to what I guess you would call a tactical one. All of these improvements are a massive step in the correct direction. While the safety still feels too smooth and slightly undersized, it does make an effort to support the south paws out there. The massive magazine release button is all but impossible to miss. Magazines now drop free, something that was hit and miss on previous generations. The trigger is slightly lighter than the older XN variant. Over a ten pulls it averaged 8lb 10oz. It is still very much on the heavy side, but the reset is crisp and there is no perceivable over-travel. The bolt release is now also larger and much easier to release even with thick gloves on if you use the palm slap method. Click Image For Larger View Included with the gun, you will find a plastic accessory case. In the case are the extra choke tubes, choke tube key, and the heavy load gas ring. Changing the choke tubes is the only aspect of maintenance or general usage that requires any tools. Worth noting is the gun we received was clean and oiled. It seems more and more common to get a new firearm that is fairly dirty and dry. It is nice to get something, especially in this price range, that you can just pull out of the box safety check and fire. As time goes on, we will keep you posted on reliability in the thread found here: MKA 1919 Match Discussion. Click Image For Larger View Check the discussion forums for updates as we build this up for 3 gun unlimited.
  7. Akdal MKA 1919 Match 3 Gun Build

    In the mail
  8. Akdal MKA 1919 Match 3 Gun Build

    Where is the drum?
  9. Its funny. Since 41F wait times have been nuts. I have a couple stamps out still that were filed in the first week of July in 2016. Everyone is going nuts, especially the first time people. I had stamps back in 2011 that took just as long. I guess its just snowflakes
  10. H&K MP5 Discussion

  11. After decades, a lot of the firearm community is pondering is the reign of the MP5 finally over? With the MP5 being adopted by countless agencies, it is no wonder that it has achieved what some would call "fanboy" status. In addition to widespread agency use, the MP5 has be blessed with numerous Hollywood appearances. Anyone who remembers the 1980s understands the appeal of "karate chop reload". The question that remains, "is the MP5 doomed to relegation in the past like the DeLorean"? Lets begin by looking at the roll the MP5 was designed to fill. The MP5 is a personal defense weapon (PDW) plain and simple. It was not designed to be a long range engagement rifle. It was designed with intent of CQC and the occasional high value asset protection where it had to be discrete. Recently, there has been a trend with a lot of departments to replace the MP5 with short barrel M4s. With more threats utilizing armour, this decision has its merits. With a pistol caliber round , .40/10mm/9mm, the MP5 is no armour breaker. That said, it is a lot smaller than even the shortest M4. In addition the 5.56 NATO round is not a fun round to fire indoors or from a vehicle. While there is no denying the M4 has loads of additional stopping power, it is my opinion it is not well suited for the PDW specific roll. The M4 is a multifunction tool, and much like your scanner/copier/printer/fax, it cannot fill the PWD specific roll like a purpose built platform. Click Image For Larger View The group on right shows 25 shots fired from 15 meters and another 25 shots from 30 meters with iron sights. The weapon was zeroed for 50 meters, and performed well considering a sub 5' barrel. Taking your time, sub 1" groups at 30m are very doable. That said, out at 100m with the iron sights my groups did open up quite a bit. At 100m though, you are well beyond indoor engagement ranges. By comparison with the CZ Scorpions I have shot, my groups average .5' larger at 30m with the CZ. With the Sig Sauer MPX my groups are consistently the same as with the H&K platform. That is to say, the weapon is probably more accurate than I will ever be. Worth noting is that at the time I am writing this, the MP5 has 1400 rounds through it. In that time I am amazed it did not have a single malfunction. This is both suppressed and non-suppressed with ammo ranging from 50 grains up to 147 grains. While the Sig also ran like a champ, the CZ Scorpion had trouble with rounds under 70g. We get asked often why we use sub 70g ammo. The reason is simply velocity and energy. Even with commercially available loads, 400+ ft/lb is pretty common with lighter sintered rounds. That said, while suppressed the go-to is 147g ammo due to it staying subsonic under most conditions. Click Image For Larger View Click Image For Larger View To the right, you can clearly see the size advantage of the MP5 even with the longer F style stock. By comparison, even with a supressor the MP5 is over an inch shorter in OAL. So at 14.25' the MP5 is compact even by Sig Sauer MPX (17") or CZ Scorpion (16.2') standards. So how does such a compact platform perform from an accuracy standpoint? Click Image For Larger View So with the empirical out of the way, lets look at the other factors. First is, the MP5 is a roller locked action. Compared with other 9mm platforms out there, to me the MP5 is more controllable from a recoil standpoint especially when in select fire. Tuning can be Saiga 12 painful though on some firearms I have seen. A couple needed +.04 rollers due to wear pretty quickly (25k rounds) mostly due to poor servicing. Next is, the side charge action. This is personal preference, but I prefer racking with my off hand. This is one of the main reasons you usually see me with a MKA 1919 over a UTAS XTR. For me it is just faster during function drills and reloads. So will the MP5 be dethroned anytime soon? I think it already has been by the FN Herstal P90. As much as I love H&K and the MP5, the P90 is a serious platform. For CQC deployment, I do not think it can be beat. Be sure to check back for our upcoming P90 review. So why do I still have a soft spot for the MP5? Maybe it is the cheaper ammo, portability, ergonomics, or over all feel. Then again, maybe I just get sentimental over those Die Hard karate chop reloads. Did we get it wrong? It does happen. Let us know what you think in the MP5 discussion topic here.
  12. The first stage for reloading cartridges (Pistol or Rifle) is cleaning the brass. If you are using virgin brass you can skip this step, but otherwise this much debated topic is your starting point. Your first and foremost concern should be safety. You are working with dangerous components that require care when handling and a well ventilated area. Before we get started, lets talk about a few reasons to clean and polish your brass, prior to reloading. The two primary reasons are for inspection and reducing friction in the reloading process. Whenever reusing a case, you need to insure it does not show signs of excessive pressure or over use. We will discuss warning signs in another article. The next reason is wear and tear on the reloading machine. Clean brass puts less wear on dies and requires less friction to load, providing a more consistent finish. Just how clean does it need to be? That is a matter of personal preference and highly debated. Some people use a multiple step process to render the brass spotless with a mirror finish. Others say just wash the dirt off and go for it. From our experience the best answer is somewhere in between. The goal is clean brass with no signs of carbon build up and minimal, to no tarnish. Click Image For Larger View Above, you can see a typical example of spent shell casings. They have a dull finish with signs of carbon around the case mouth and a layer of carbon inside the case. The first step in our process involves washing the brass. If it is a small quantity, simply place the brass into a one gallon Ziploc bag. Fill the bag half full with hot water and a single pump of Dawn dish soap. Agitate the bag a few times and let the brass soak 5-10 minutes before rinsing with fresh water. The reason for this step is to help minimize the release of airborne lead. While many people will debate the need for this step, we insist that it is a necessary precaution that only takes a few seconds. If you reload, we highly suggest you periodically test for lead contamination in your work area. A simple kit such as this 3M lead kit, will either put your mind at ease that your work station cleaning procedure is adequate, or tell you that you need to improve your cleaning regimen and be more careful in the future. Click Image For Larger View With the brass finished soaking, now is the time to lay it out to dry. If you do not wear gloves for this step, wash your hands immediately after finishing. It should also be stated that smoking and eating should always be avoided whenever handling casings, as there is an increased risk of transferring lead from your hands to your lungs or stomach. I usually place the casings I want to reload in old ammo trays. This allows me to easily inspect the brass while at the same time confirming its caliber. In the image below, you cans see that there are a few 10mm rounds mixed in with the bulk of the rounds, which are .40. Now is the time you want to find this out, not when sitting at your press dealing with some form of equipment malfunction. Click Image For Larger View While the brass is drying, start preparing your tumbler. I suggest doing this outside for the lead concerns stated above. So far, our favorite mix is one liter of crushed walnuts and two tablespoons Mothers PowerMetal. The crushed walnut can be purchased at your local pet store in different sizes and is usually marketed for bedding use. The polish is not that difficult to find in most areas, but can be ordered off-line here for less. The reason we suggest this polish, other than in our opinion it works awesome, is that it is ammonia free and will not weaken the brass. With the polish added to the media, turn on the tumbler for 5-10 minutes to distribute the polish evenly. Click Image For Larger View With the polished mixed in, now add the shells. We recommend leaving the spent primers in the casings for this step. This prevents any of the media from entering the flash hole of the primer pocket, which you will have to dig out later. A common question is how many shells should you polish at once. This depends on the size and power of your tumbler and the finish you are seeking. If you add excess brass to the point that it bangs against itself, you will end up with a satin finish. While this will not hurt performance, it may not yield the mirror finish some are looking for. I have had good results keeping the ratio of shells to media to a 1:3 by volume ratio. Your ratio may need to be adjusted based on the power and size of your tumbler. Click Image For Larger View If you are using crushed walnut, 45 minutes to an hour will give you the results shown below. It is best described as a gloss satin finish. If you want something with more of a mirror finish, you can run the brass for an additional hour in a crushed corn cob media. While you can start with the corn media, this will increase the total polishing time. As is usually the case, polishing is best done in steps. If you do opt for the one step corn cob method, reported typical tumbling times are usually around 4 hours. If you do use corn, be aware that the crushed cob you typically find at most pet stores will not work very well. It contains chaff and other bits, not just the pit. If you use corn media, it needs to be blast media, not pet bedding. Click Image For Larger View While several companies offer media separators, we have found that fryer baskets, such as this one work just as well. They also allow us to have several inexpensive baskets around for different media. Again, keep in mind safety in this step. The media will be loaded with lead dust. Once you have removed your casings, you can set aside the media for reuse later. Click Image For Larger View A lot of people have reported that tumbling their casings does not clean out the inside of the shells. Above, you can see shells that were tumbled for one hour in crushed walnut and as reported, the insides are not clean. For pistol and non-precision loading they are clean enough, but there are cases where you may want the insides cleaned also. To accomplish this, there is a simple trick, water. Once you have loaded the media into the tumbler along with the polish, add water until all of the media is wet and a thin layer will float out on the top when the tumbler is on. The casings below were run in this way for one hour in the media, followed by 5 minutes using only dry walnut media to remove the film left by the water and polish. You can clearly see the difference inside the shells. Click Image For Larger View Whatever method you decide to use, exercise care and safety for both yourself and those around you. If you are not comfortable with a step, ask a more experienced reloader, or post it up on our forums. Have fun, and let us know if you find any other tips for polishing or secret recipes for polishing media. Click Image For Larger View After seeing a lot of talk about using brown rice as a polishing media, we decided to test it. We also tested Flourite as a faster option to walnut shells. In the above side by side image, you can see that both media produced a satin blasted finish not a shiny one. Some people prefer this finish, so it does have its place. Both batches were run 1 hour in a vibrasonic tumbler. The rice was run dry and the Flourite was run with 2 cups of water in 4cups of Flourite. The Flourite media had the added benefit of cleaning the inside of the case as well as cleaning up very easily. Although it is more expensive than walnut shells, it would make a great one step polishing media if you are looking for a satin finish. The rice on the other hand did little to the inside of the case other than coat it with a layer of powdered rice and plug up the flash hole even though the rounds had not been de-capped. If there is anything else you would like tosee tested let us know.
  13. As with all things Beowulf, finding a muzzle brake can also be difficult. If you have standard threading on your barrel, there are a few great companies out there making brakes for this application. In our case however, we standardized on the less common 19 x 1.25 thread pitch. So when it came time to finish off our barrel, we knew we would have to go the custom route. Lucky for use the people at Grizzly Gunworks, were more than happy to help out. Below you can see a custom Ghost Protocol brake on a .50 Beowulf A2 upper. Click Image For Larger View Having never worked with Grizzly before, we were not sure how the process would go. A few email exchanges and we were excited to hear the process would be easier than ordering a barrel. All we had to do was pick a style, and provide a drawing of the specs of our application. Wanting to keep everything simple for the review, we opted for a thread on Ghost Protocol muzzle brake, threaded in 19 x 1.25. A few weeks later this beauty showed up at our door in bead-blasted stainless steel as requested. Click Image For Larger View Our first impression was, "what a beast". As with most accessories purpose built for slinging half inch lead, this was heavy. Tipping in at over 12oz, this brake helped reduce perceived muzzle rise with mass alone. Once installed, the brake added just over 2" to the total length of the barrel. While our test platform was already fairly heavy for an M4, this brake did add some noticeable weight. In our case with a 9" SBR barrel, handling did not change that much. However, if you are installing this on a standard 14" or longer barrel, you will definitely feel it. Click Image For Larger View One concern that I do have, is the split design to retain the brake once it is threaded on. It relies on tension from two hex bolts. While this method makes clocking the device very simple, it does not look as clean as a more traditional crush or peel washer design. So depending on your level of gunsmithing, this can be a pro, or a con. That said, the craftsmanship was top notch. The finish was extremely uniform, and the brake was concentric even when checked with a mic. Even our odd-ball 19 x 1.25 threads were perfectly cut and sharp. Click Image For Larger View With the description complete, what really matters is how it performs. While the added weight did slightly alter the weapons balance, the reduction in recoil was appreciable. Most people who fired the weapon agreed it kicked similar to a gas-operated 7.62 NATO round. Without the brake, I would describe the kick as something between 12ga 00 and a 12ga slug. Cleaning the weapon with the brake was a snap, although quite a bit more messy. CLP tends to collect and stay hidden in the brake for quite some time. So all in all, whats our take? If you are a bench-rest shooter, this is an excellent brake with no drawbacks that should concern you. If you are a casual plinker, the same can be said. The only place this brake may have some significant drawbacks is in the tactical environment, where its added weight and bulk could wear on you after carrying it for hours in the field.
  14. Ardel Engineering AR-15 Lower

    The debate is endless as to which company builds the best lower receiver. Some say Mega, other will say ARA. With all the high end billet receivers coming onto the market, there are just as many entry level products. At under a hundred dollars, there has been some interest in the Ardel Engineering (AE) lower. A quick search of the internet and you can find a few reviews. Most of the reviews I found however were mixed. For this reason I wanted to do a review on one myself. Click Image For Larger View In the image above you can see the AE lower built up with pretty standard parts. We did opt to color fill the fire markings. If you are interested in doing the same, you can find a guide here: Color Fill DIY. At first glance, everything seems pretty typical. Before building the receiver out, we did take the time and check all the specs. All the holes and channels for the fire control group were within 0.003", which is more than tight enough tolerance. The take down pins were a very tight fit and are still stiff but this is what you want. From the function standpoint we encountered no issues. Click Image For Larger View The outside and finish were a different story. In several places there were machining burs left behind. When removed these burs leave metal showing. This is easy to fix with touchup, but obviously not ideal. If you look close at the image below you can see a few of these burs. You will also notice that the machining is not smooth. While this has no effect on performance, it can be annoying. Click Image For Larger View All and all, I would still consider one of these lowers for a budget build, if I could get it for 50-60 dollars. If you are paying more than that, there are better options out there.
  15. If you follow Magpul products at all, you have no doubt heard about their UBR collapsible stock. A striking feature you will notice right off about this stock is the fact the bottom portion is the sliding portion. A few other note worthy features are its sling attachments, storage compartment, solid feel, and its equally solid price tag. With a retail price of just under $300 dollars shipped, if you shop around you can find it in stock and under $250 shipped from places such as Optical Soultions. You will see people all over the web asking, "is it worth it?". Click Image For Larger View p { margin-bottom: 0.08in; } At first glance the stock seems pretty basic. 7 positions, a storage compartment, and a release lever. However as you start to look closer you will notice this stock has several subtle features. One of the features I liked was the ability to remove the storage compartment. As a personal preference, I like having an open skeletonized stock. For those who are interested in using it, there is enough room for 123 batteries or an extra firing pin. Click Image For Larger View p { margin-bottom: 0.08in; } Slide the stock out of its collapsed position, and you will immediately notice that it is the bottom portion that slides not the top. While it is novel, it also serves a real purpose. No more pulled beards, or pinched skin. In addition the weapon points and feels much more like the traditional A1/A2 stock. Another nice feature is the fact the stock can be set up to have presets. Setting the preset length is as simple as moving a set screw. Click Image For Larger View p { margin-bottom: 0.08in; } The locking mechanism shown below is impressive in its own right. While it takes some getting used to, the system is incredibly strong and locks up very tight. This is something that is critically important when firing the over sized calibers such as .450, .458 SOCOM, or .50 Beowulf. In the image below you can also seethe forward ambidextrous quick release. Click Image For Larger View A common upgrade to the UBR is the p { margin-bottom: 0.08 aluminum strike plate. Shown below is the upgraded plate with the stock sling mount shown above it. Worth a mention is that the stock sling plate is actually some form of polymer, not actually alloy like the upgraded piece. Click Image For Larger View p { margin-bottom: 0.08in; } For all of the great features there are some draw backs. The stock is very heavy at 1.72 pounds on my scales. This is over twice the weight of some other stocks out there. On a large bore build, one can argue that this helps with the balance. No matter how you cut it though, this is a heavy stock. In traditional Magpul style there is a flat head screw on the extension tube. I have complained about this in other reviews of Magpul products and it still bothers me. Having said that the stock is very well built. All the screws you ever need to change the configuration are included. Click Image For Larger View So back to the question at hand. Is it worth it? For a big bore high end build, without a doubt. For a low drag fast CQB weapon, I would probably look else where. That said stay tuned for an update one how this works coupled with a 5.7x28 SBR upper. For discussion or questions on this stock see: Magpul UBR Stock Review.
  16. Every couple years you should go through your tritium sights and see which ones need replaced. From experience 10 years seems to be about right. Officially pure tritium has a half-life of just over 12 years, but most of the night sights we have experience with decay perceivably faster. After much experience with both Trijicon and Meprolight we took a look at Truglo. Truglo (trueglow) comes in at about the same price as any other brand. You can find Truglo sights here for around $60.00. The added feature of Truglo over its competitors is that it also features a fiber optic dot for day time use. Click Image For Larger View Right out of the package you will see a few major differences with Truglo. Most obvious is the much larger form factor. In the case of the Sig P239 the front sight was over 26mm long. The rear sight also uses a hex screw for added security. I am not sure this features is needed, but I suggest a dab of loc-tight on the set screw to keep it in place. The next thing you will notice is that in daylight the Truglo sights are indeed much brighter. Usually sight installation consists of tapping out the old sights with a punch from right to left then reinstalling the new sights from the other direction. Truglo does not recommend the use of a hammer and punch and instead urges you to use a sight pusher. That said I have installed these on occasion with a hammer and punch and had no issues as long as care is taken. Click Image For Larger View In the above photo you can see a 10 year old set of Meprolights on the left next to a new set of Truglo sights in the middle. On the right are a set of factory Sig P238 sights on a 6 month old fire arm. There is a clear difference between the old sights and new. As claimed the Truglo sights are brighter than factory or Meprolight sights. My only concern is how durable are they. I will follow up with any issues, but as of right now they seem to be very robust.So all in all I say this is a good investment if you want brighter sights. For more information of questions see the TruGlow discussion topic.
  17. Since there is already a primer on Nickel Boron platings in the Fail Zero review, we can jump right into this. Wanting to see how well nickel boron holds up in a heavy wear environment, I decided we needed to coat a pistol. Unlike most people I actually fire my Desert Eagle, and it hands down had one of the roughest finishes I had ever seen on a weapon. Click Image For Larger View While I was not looking for a high polish chrome finish, I did not want something that did not try and pit and rust every time the weather took a turn towards the rainy side. Above you can see the stripped frame showing some holster wear as well as some wear under the grips. Even well oiled this weapons would show surface rust on humid days. Click Image For Larger View After a solvent hot dip and an HCL bath, the remainder of the bluing was gone along with any light surface rust. On the beaver tail and above the grips there was some light pitting which I removed with a wire brush and 400 grit sand paper before giving it a quick media blasting and one last acid bath. Click Image For Larger View Plated out to 0.0005" the frame looked completly plated. However on the frame itself I continued to plate out to 0.0010" as this is a high wear location and there were no clearance issues. On the rest of the weapon plating was stopped at 0.0005". The barrel and gas ports were plugged to prevent any issues there. Click Image For Larger View After a light polish you can see the end results above. The finish came out uniform, and had the flat appearance I wanted thanks to media blasted finish of the metal. If a bright finish is desired that can be done also. Longterm follow ups will show how well this holds up. Operation wise the weapon is extremely slick feeling even with no lube. Cleaning it up now is a breeze and more importantly it shows no desire to flash rust when it is humid.
  18. With the plethora of rails on the market it is easy to get lost in all of the hype. What it really boils down to is, what are your requirements and are you planning to install it yourself? For a free float system plan on spending $100-$300 dollars. The difference in price depends on what brand you opt for and how much you shop around. While LaRue Tactical hands down makes one of the nicest rails out there, there are deals out there to be had for much less. Enter the Yankee Hill Machining Diamond Series. For the best price on this rail see: JSE Surplus if they do not have it in stock the best best place I have found is here: Diamond YHM Rail. Click Image For Larger View At 12.7oz it comes in a hair heavier than the claimed weight of the same sized LaRue rail. Having said that, they do make a lightweight option and the LaRue rail we weighed was a full oz over its claimed weight. In a .458/.50 build strength should be of higher importance than weight anyways. The optional end cap shown above is another reason we often opt for this rail. At only a few dollars extra is provides a finished look other systems lack. Installation of the rail requires no special considerations (except the optional end cap) and can be completed with standard tools and an armorers wrench. Click Image For Larger View As with any good deal there is a small catch to this rail. While the finish is well above average, it is not quite on par with some of the more expensive rails. As seen above burs are somewhat common, but easy to fix. A small wooden dowel can be used to rub down any such burrs while having little to no effect on the rail or its finish. The only other annoyance I found with this rail is the lack of filler screws for the un-used sling mounts. With a somewhat odd 5/16 x 32 thread pitch these are not easy to find. I would advise ordering them with your rail. Click Image For Larger View While all uppers are slightly different, I had no issues installing the rail very little gap between the top receiver. With plastigauge it was measure at .0011 which is more than acceptable. At half the cost as other solutions, the only issues is has can be corrected for a few dollars, and ten minutes of your time. With all of this said, I cannot ever see buying a different rail.
  19. Satern Machining has been in business for several decades. In that time I have seen their products sold every from Midway to eBay. They have been a long respected company and at one point was even licensed by Alexander Arms to make .50 Beowulf barrels. They currently still produce upper receivers that are specifically build to support larger calibers such as .450 Bushmaster, .458 Socom, .50 Beowulf. If you are are building one of these rifles and are not using an A2 or billet upper, this is hands down the way to go. Click Image For Larger View Satern mills out the ejection port to 16mm, or just under 3mm wider than a stock receiver. This is more than large enough to eject even .50 brass with no marks to the casings. Unlike some manufactures, Satern removes most of the material from the bottom of the ejection port. This has both pros and cons. The nice thing about this method is that is preserves more area of the bearing area of the bolt. The down side it this makes it necessary to buy a specialty dust port cover such as: Steves Custom Dustcovers. Click Image For Larger View Satern finishes the receivers with a Teflon anodized finish. It is a dark gray color and slick enough to make cleaning it very easy. The upper seems to be tight on forged lower receivers, but did have some movement on my billet receivers. I have seen this before and is somewhat common, which is why receivers like ARA and Mega usually have tension screws. Click Image For Larger View My one complaint about Satern is their communication. It can take weeks to complete an order or get a question answered. On my most recent order I asked if they had an A2 option upper receiver. I was told yes, and confirmed twice via email before ordering. What I received was an A3 upper. After 3 more emails I was told they do not make an A2 upper. They were very nice, and returns to them are always seamless, but the process can be frustrating. For these reasons I often advise people to get Satern items off of Midway or Gunbroker and avoid all the headache. All in all this is a great product for those trying to build from scratch. Even with the frustration it is still faster than waiting on Rock River Arms.
  20. Steve's Custom Dust Covers

    Steve's Custom Dust Covers. Opening up a world of custom to your AR-15 rifle Click Image For Larger View With laser etching more and more common, there is a while new world of customization opening up for the AR15/M4 world. Dust covers! If you want to dress your project up a little, all you have to do is contact Steve's Custom Covers and a few days later pretty much anything you can dream up will show up at your door. He offers options for just the cover, or a kit which includes a new spring, rod, and c-clip. Click Image For Larger View How can this get any better? He even offers an option for enlarged port doors for your .458 SOCOM or Beowulf project. No more looking an an incomplete weapon. For just a few extra dollars he can take your custom idea and put it on an enlarged door for your big bore build. After ordering a couple of these, I have always received my item in well under a week. Click Image For Larger View In the above image you can clearly see the size difference between the .50/.458 dust cover and the standard M4 5.56 cover. The larger cover really completes the look of the AA uppers which are often sold sans dust cover. If you opt to customize it, it will take on a subtle role once you get some oil applied to it. The fact that we have ordered several covers from Steve should show you how pleased we are. The covers even come with complete instructions, not that there is much to it, but it is a nice touch. Click Image For Larger View Here at Big Bore, we have moved past zombies. We are on to super zombies (draugr). Leave the zombies to the 5.56 and 6.8spc guys. They have to have some fun too. For more information see the pricing chart below. For ordering information contact Big Bore AR. Cover Alone Full Kit 5.56mm Cover $19.00 $24.00 .50/.458 Plain Cover $26.00 $31.00 .50/.458 Custom Cover -- $36.00 Click Image For Larger View
  21. Nickel boron coatings are nothing new. They actually burst onto the firearm scene later than some other markets. Before we dive into all of that, lets take a look at the proposed purpose of the coating. Nickel boron will provide an incredibly hard and very slick finish. Dry it has a lower coefficient of friction than Teflon or graphite in most applications. When heat treated the hardness can be over 60RC. Some of the coatings detractors claim by being so hard this will accelerate wear to the soft aluminum upper. This does not even make sense as the phosphate coated steel BCG that comes standard in most weapons is already several times harder than 6061 or 7075 aluminum. Some of that hardest aluminum alloys barely make it onto the Rockwell C scale at ~15RC. Re-enforcing this is the fact that chrome which has been used for years is the highest hardness of all at over 75RC when applied to a steel substrate. If you are trying to achieve smooth operation and minimal wear, a harder bearing surface is actually preferred. Click Image For Larger View What really matters is the coefficient of friction (µ). µ defines the ratio of friction between two objects. The force required to operate the bolt on a weapon would be defined by two main forces. The tension of the hammer spring, and the static friction of the steel BCG and hammer on the receiver. Dry aluminum and and steel have a static µ of ~ 0.61. With a coat of traditional oil, this can be lowered below 0.25 so a little less than half. As carbon builds up most assume the µ climbs. This is not actually the case as carbon will lower the µ. What is actually happening is the BCG is developing a layer that is causing binding. So as you can see its not just coefficient of friction and hardness that matters. The ability of a material to avoid deposit build up is equally if not more important. Factor in heat, and corrosive compounds and you will see that a seemingly simple problem can actually be quite complex. For those reasons so many people want to fall back on empirical evidence. IE: "I saw a weapon go x,xxx rounds before having a malfunction". While empirical data can be an indicator, with only one data sample the information has little scientific value. While we will preform a long term review and post updates, we are not going to rely on it as a definitive study. Instead we will rely on the merits of the tangible data along with trying to collect data from others to form a more comprehensive conclusion. People cay they have seen Failzero groups go over a thousand rounds suppressed and full auto with no lube. Sadly I have seen mil-spec bolts do the same. It is not the norm, but it can and does happen. Click Image For Larger View With that primer out of the way, the initial impression of the Failzero basic kit was very favorable. The entire kit comes with complete instructions that were easy to follow. Packaging was nice and shipping was very fast. In one kit we ordered there was an issue with the gas key. A quick email to customer service had it sorted out and a new BCG was on our door later that week. The EXO coating from UCT was uniform and complete. After some initial testing the entire group was very easy to clean. More so than even its polished chrome counter part. At around $200, this kit is about double that of a basic BCG, and on par with most "premium" kits. Given the quality and claims of the kit, this has the potential to be an amazing product. While I do not intend to run it completely dry, it will provide peace of mind with extended use of a suppressor. The fact it eases clean up as much as it does is reason enough for me to purchase these kits exclusively in the future. We will follow up with long term reviews as issues or praises arise. The only stem of the install that may throw some of the most basic AR users is the hammer install. Below is a quick video to walk you through. For additional discussions on this review or to share your own experiences click here: FailZero Bolt Carrier Group Kit Reviews
  22. A lot has changed at DPMS since they were merged with Remington Arms and Bushmaster. Luckily quality has remained above average, and they are still carrying a few odd components that are hard to find. On the short list are the HBAR A2 gas blocks and upper receivers. While a large percentage of people consider the A2 to be a throw back relic that should be completely replaced by the flat top receivers, it does have its place. In the case of the .50 Beowulf, the A2 is an excellent platform. Not only does the carry handle handle provide stiffness, but it also hosts robust iron sights. Click Image For Larger View While I am a huge fan of the ACOG/EOTech sights, I do not see a real point on a weapon that is ballisticly limited to a few hundred meters at best. At ranges under 75 meters, I find myself just as quick with iron sights as with holographic sights. 75-150 meters the differences become apparent. For this review we are going to assume you have your reasons for the A2 architecture. To avoid further debate lets just assume you are building a zombie gun. Click Image For Larger View One of my favorite features of DPMS is that they teflon treat their receivers. While this is some what common on billet receivers, it is a hard to find option on an A2. Another nice feature is the 7075 alunmium. 7075 makes for a nice solid platform. In some cases I lean towards 6061 for the upper just to save wear and tear on the lower,in the case of a big bore AR I favor stiffness. Click Image For Larger View. If you are going the big bore route, you will need to open up the injection port. Most sources seem to prefer a 16mm wide port. From my experience and research anything wider than 15mm should provide reliability. The key when opening up the injection port is not to cut too much off the top. If you remove too much material from the top, you will not have a functioning dust cover, and you will also weaken the bearing surface of the bolt Click Image For Larger View People tend to shy away from the custom route with these calibers due to the need to refinish the milled area after opening the ejection port. While you need to exercise care, this is not a show stopper. You can use anything from an end-mill to sand paper to get the job done. The real trick is in the refinish. The best solution I have found is Durabake by Duracoat.After milling, just mask off the surface, clean with some degreaser, heat the part to ~150F and paint. 15 minutes after painting the part needs to be placed in an oven at 350F for ~20 minutes. Because we are dealing with aluminum, I strongly urge you to slowly cool the part after curing the paint. Turn the oven off and wait is the best course of action. Click Image For Larger View After just one coat you can hardly tell any work was ever done. Some people comment that the Durabake has an almost ashy appearance. If you get that effect you need to apply a second coat. A second coat is better than trying to do a single heavy coat. Years on the internet and I know all about the "10 foot rule". Thats why I have included high resolution photos of this job for you to get a better idea the actual results.
  23. At the time of this article, there is no dust cover door that will fit a Satern modified Beowulf/SOCOM/Bushmaster upper receiver. This leaves you either running no dust cover at all, or dropping a lot of money to have one custom stamped. There is another option however. With a little time you can move the standard detent up, to make the MIL-SPEC cover work with your large bore rifle. Click Image For Larger View With the dust cover removed, start by drilling out the roll pin. This is not as easy as it sounds due to the fact the pin is steel and the surrounding area is aluminum. With that said, take your time here. There is nothing you can hurt, but patience will save you a lot of frustration. Click Image For Larger View In the images above you can see the detent removed. Be careful not to lose the spring that is behind it. Now, on the opposite side of the cover drill another hole for a new roll pin 1mm or .04" higher than the original hole. Reinstall the spring, followed by the detent, then set the new roll pin. Click Image For Larger View Because the only modifications were done to aluminum pieces there is no need to touch up with any cold bluing. The image above was shot at a downward angle to over emphasize the gap, but it is there. For this reason I consider this a work around until someone produces a proper dust cover. Having said that, the cover does function exactly as it would on a standard rifle. It is not going to bounce open and is very secure.
  24. One of the top selling points of the .458 SOCOM and 12.7x42mm rifles are that they share so many components with their parent platform the 5.56mm. Right out of the box most magazine will work with no issues. That does not mean that there is not room for improvement. I wanted to have a few magazine to work on, but was not ordering from my usual suppliers any time soon. For that reason I picked up these from Amazon to take advantage of free shipping here: Magpul PMAG Magazines. Click Image For Larger View From the start I noticed a few things. The much larger case of the big bore rounds prevented them from having an ideal feeding angle. While not an issue with pointed and FMJ rounds, this was an issue as usually is on the open hollow points. The first few go arounds involved jigs and power tools. Only later did I realize this process is faster by hand. Click Image For Larger View Start by removing the baseplate, spring, and follower. Now tightly wrap a small strip of 200 grit sandpaper around the shank of a 1/2" drill bit. This gives you a sanding mandrel that is almost the exact size of the rounds we are developing for here. This process goes quickly so use care not to remove too much material. If you are applying even pressure to both sides the width of the sanding marks will be uniform. From what I have seen the best angle to sand at is around 30 degrees in relation to the magazine. Click Image For Larger View The other that needs addressed is the front of the magazine. In the un-modified magazine below, you can see the sharp point at he front which causes hollow point to hang up. This can be radius off, which solves the problem. Remember the goal here is not to remove the ridge, and stop, but to slightly change its profile. This process may take some trial and error on the first few magazine to get everything "just right". Once you are happy with the function, take a cotton swap and lightly wipe down the area you sanded with MEK. This will melt the plastic and remove any sign that the magazine was ever modified. Click Image For Larger View This step has nothing to do with reliability, but will allow you to load one additional round into the magazine, and still be able to use it even with the bolt forward. The goal here is to sand the follower flat. You will also need to radius the rear of the follow to allow it to come all the way up to the top of the magazine body. Click Image For Larger View In profile you can clearly see that the follower sits a few hundredths higher now. If you correctly radius the rear of the follower everything should work 100% reliably with an extra round. If the bolt catch does not work after this modification, you need to radius the rear of the follower more. Here is a short movie to help you with the first few steps:
  25. Before you can start assembling your lower receiver, you have to make a few choices on what direction you want to go. There are countless configurations of grips, build groups, bolt carriers, and other parts out there. This lower is built to host large bore SBR uppers so we opted for a military style trigger and robust build group from Daniel Defense. You can get this kit from Midway, but with free shipping you can sometimes find it cheaper here: Daniel Defense DD.21007 Lower Kit. The only substitution I made was to the grip. I have the CAA UPG-16 on all my builds. With all the potential combinations it should suit just about anyone. The best price at the time of this article is Midway if you are already ordering, or from here due to free shipping: CAA UPG-16 Grip. Click Image For Larger View The night before you plan to start the assembly, place all the metal build parts on a baking sheet covered in foil and lightly coat them with Militec-1 or something similar. Then heat them to 160 degrees F for approximately 20 minutes. This treatment gives you a good starting point for maintenance as well as protecting the parts from skin oils during assembly. Once the parts have cooled off, wipe off any excess oil and set them aside. Through all of these steps you are working with springs under pressure. For that reason, safety glasses should always be worn. With all of the prep out of the way, the first thing to install should be the magazine release. This will allow you to use a magazine vice block in the later steps should you need one. To begin, install the magazine catch through the left side of the weapon as shown below. Click Image For Larger View Now flip the weapon over while holding the magazine catch in place. Install the the magazine catch spring over the the threaded portion of the catch as seen below. While holding the catch flush with the receiver, press the magazine release button down onto the spring and get a few threads started. Once you have a few threads of engagement, you can let go of the magazine catch. Now position the button into its recess and press it as far into the receiver as you can. While holding the button in, you can screw the catch in the rest of the way from the opposite side. Use care not to scratch the receiver. Using a space magazine, now preform a function test. Click Image For Larger View While the next step is not difficult, it is where the most people damage the finish on their receiver. The bolt catch can be tricky, you just need to be patient. With the receiver resting on its right side, drop in the bolt catch spring followed by the plunger as shown below. If you have a threaded receiver, you can hold the bolt catch in place and screw in the set pin. If you have a traditional receiver, you need to insert your magazine vice block and place the weapon face down in a vice. Get your roll pin started before placing the bolt catch. Once the pin is started, you can either hammer it directly, or use a 12" 1/8th punch to drive it into place. The punch is the better method as it will help prevent scratches. This is one of the reasons I prefer to convert to screw in pins over roll pins for the bolt catch. Click Image For Larger View The following pivot pin installation procedure is hands down my least favorite step. While straight forward, it is tedious with new springs. Start by placing the detent spring in its recess as shown below. From here you will need to press the detent into place and hold it flush with a razor blade. With the detent held in place with the razor, install the pivot pin from right to left. Once the pin is started you can remove the razor. I usually perform this step someplace where I can easily find the spring, should it go flying. Click Image For Larger View Because of the numerous trigger combinations and install methods, I am going to skim over this step covering the key points. If you have a drop in trigger, it just sits in place while you press in the trigger and hammer pins. The pins usually will press in by hand. If you are using a military style trigger, insure the disconnector spring is installed with the wider side down. If you are using the Daniel Defense kit, the disconnector spring is the green spring. With the trigger and disconnector set up, you can simply press them into place and install the trigger pin. Follow this with the hammer and hammer spring, which is also secured with a pin. Click Image For Larger View Now cock the hammer back. With the hammer in the back position, you can insert the fire selector in the fire position. With the selector in place, turn it to safe. While holding the hammer pull the trigger. The selector should prevent the hammer from falling. If it does not, review the previous steps to identify the problem. Now set the selector to fire. While holding the hammer pull the trigger. The trigger should try to fall. While still holding the trigger in lower the hammer and recock it. The disconnector should catch the hammer and prevent it from falling a second time on a semi-auto weapon. Click Image For Larger View After you have confirmed a properly functioning fire selector, you can finish installing it. This is done by flipping the weapon over as shown below. Now drop in the safety selector detent. On the grip locate the small hole on the top right side. Drop the safety spring into this hole. Set the grip aside. Before installing the grip you need to confirm if your take down pin is installed from the bottom, or the traditional way in front of the buffer tube. In the example below you can see a tiny set screw just behind the install brass safety detent. If you have this style, insert the take down pin, followed by a detent, then reinstall the tiny set screw. If you have the traditional style the take down pin procedure will be addressed in part two of this review. Now install the lock washer over the grip screw. Even though the screw has a washer, I still like to use a small amount of Guntite on the screw. With the screw and washer ready, press the grip down onto the spring and get the screw started as shown below. Click Image For Larger View Slowly tighten the grip screw while confirming that the spring is being pressed into the recess and not kinking over on itself. Once the grip is installed, go back and confirm that the fire selector switch is functioning correctly. Take care not to drop the hammer, as it will strike the bolt release with no upper in place. Click Image For Larger View At this point you will have a few extra pieces. You should have the trigger guard, split pin, set screw, two springs, buffer retainer, and a detent left. The trigger guard was not used in this build, but should you need to install it, it is just snapped into place on one side then secured with the set screw on the other. If your take down pin was the traditional style, you cannot install it till the second part of this guide when the buffer tube and stock get installed. The same goes for the buffer spring and detent. Here is a short movie to help you with the first few steps: In the next guide we will cover the completion of the lower, and the final inspection and function test. While these guides seem simple enough, you should consult a licensed gunsmith if you have any questions or doubts about your work. Even if you put everything together and it seems to work fine, there is no harm in having someone double check your work.
  26. Akdal MKA 1919 Match 3 Gun Build

    Range Report. So far this has run every 3 1/4 dram #8 round I have put through it and 95% of 3 dram loads. Out of 175 rounds the only FTEs were on some Remington steel shot 3 dram I had laying around.
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